Updated: Aug 11, 2022
African cuisine is something that not a lot of people are familiar with. But with the number of African restaurants appearing all around the world, African cuisine is slowly emerging into the spotlight.
Each region has its own unique flavor and local staple food, so there is a wide variety of African dishes. In Tanzanian cuisine, spice and coconut milk are common flavors in local dishes. Here are some Tanzanian food to try the next time you’re in the region!
Made from maize flour (or a similar starch) and water, ugali is a staple in Tanzanian food due to its affordability and availability of ingredients. It is slow-cooked until it reaches a dough-like consistency. It can be eaten with nearly anything, though stew or nyama choma are popular pairings.
Literally meaning “roasted meat”, nyama choma is meat that has been slowly cooked over hot coals, giving it a distinctly smoky flavor. It’s commonly made from goat meat, which is preferred for its gamey flavor and chewy texture.
Similar to nyama choma, mshikaki is also slowly cooked over coals. The difference is that mshikaki is cut into pieces, marinated, and skewered. Goat, mutton, and beef are most commonly used for this dish, although they can be made from a variety of meats.
This dish’s name literally means “banana and meat”, and that’s exactly what it is. Ndizi nyama is a stew made from bananas and meat or fish. Ingredients like carrots, onions, peppers, okra, garlic, can also be included. It is usually paired with either rice or ugali.
Tanzanians often use spinach in dishes, due to its ease of availability. Mchicha is a side dish made from spinach, coconut, and peanuts. It’s used as a vegetable dish to accompany meat, poultry, or fish dishes.
Wali na Maharage
Wali na maharage, is a dish made from rice and beans. The rice is cooked with either coconut milk or oil. It is also common to add spices like cinnamon, pepper, or cardamom. Though wali na maharage can be eaten on its own, it is usually eaten with meat, fish, or vegetables.
“Sukuma wiki” means “stretch the week”, because it is made from collard greens, onions, and tomatoes– all vegetables that are affordable and available year-round. Because it can be both a main dish or a side dish, It’s considered a cheap and nutritious (yet tasty!) way of stretching resources to make them last longer. It is usually served with ugali, and maybe some meat or fish.